CREI gets $20 million to solarise telecoms towers in South Sudan

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July 8, 2024
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2 min read
Money pouring on someone's hand like rain. Used to depict a naira float, following the country's announcement
  • The Communication and Renewable Energy Infrastructure (CREI), an asset management company, has obtained $20 million to finance its Telecom Energy Service Company (TESCO) in South Sudan.
  • The funding consists of $20 million from the Facility for Energy Inclusion (FEI) to enable CREI to provide “energy as a service” to a telecom stakeholder in South Sudan by developing, building, and managing energy assets.
  • Additionally, Finnfund, the Finnish development finance institution, contributed a $5 million mezzanine loan to finance the project to enable the installation of 413 telecom site hybrid power solutions in South Sudan.

The use of renewable energy to power telecom towers provides a way to reduce carbon emissions from fossil fuels and improve the reliability of telecom operations.

CREI holds a portfolio of telecom tower and renewable power assets across Africa and Asia. On the investment, its CEO Kadri El Hakim said that the partnership aligns with the organisation’s goals to lead the transition towards sustainable telecom and energy infrastructure across Africa and Asia. 

He further stated that their collective efforts would facilitate the expansion and contribute to the development of the telecom sector in the East African country.

Valtter Louhivuori, Head of the Nairobi office at Finnfund, mentioned that the investment is a good start for its Africa Connected programme, which seeks to accelerate investments in impactful digital infrastructure and solutions companies in Africa. 

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“This investment is made with support from the European Union and the European Fund for Sustainable Development Plus (EFSD+), one of the financing tools of Global Gateway, promoting sustainable investments in the EU’s partner countries.

Finnfund also analysed that South Sudan has one of the lowest rates of mobile access and connectivity in the world and said the project will contribute to a significant increase in solar power production, benefiting over 2 million people by enhancing the reliability of the connection.

Per reports, there were 1.36 million Internet users in South Sudan in January 2024, with an Internet penetration rate of 12.1% at the time.

In an effort to increase Internet connectivity, in December 2023, MTN Group announced plans to conduct trials for Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites. Elon Musk's Starlink also uses LEO satellites. MTN stated that it would initiate pilot projects with telecoms satellite firms and negotiate testing agreements with entities such as AST SpaceMobile in South Sudan and other African nations.


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